Japan court rejects bid to halt Shikoku Electric reactor restart

FILE PHOTO: Shikoku Electric Power
FILE PHOTO: Shikoku Electric Power's Ikata nuclear plant is pictured near the water in Ikata, Japan, October 2, 2018. Picture taken October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Mari Saito

TOKYO (Reuters) - Shikoku Electric Power Co Inc is free to restart the No.3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power station after the Hiroshima District Court rejected an injunction sought by local residents, the company said on Thursday.

The residents had said that the Ikata reactor was vulnerable to major earthquakes, but Shikoku Electric said the court accepted the company's safety assurances.

The 890 megawatt No. 3 reactor has been shut since December 2019, first for scheduled maintenance and then because of another court case in January last year.

Last March a court ruling on the case was overturned but the restart of the reactor was pushed back again after a violation of security regulations.

"We have not set a new schedule for the restart," a spokesperson for Shikoku Electric said after the latest ruling, adding that the company plans to continue dialogue with local authorities and residents.

The utility's latest earnings estimate for its current financial year to March 31 is based on an assumption that the No.3 reactor would restart in late October. Any further delay will cost the company about 3 billion yen ($26 million) a month, its spokesperson said.

($1 = 114.0300 yen)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by David Goodman)

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